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(1/10474) Physician advice and individual behaviors about cardiovascular disease risk reduction--seven states and Puerto Rico, 1997.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) (e.g., heart disease and stroke) is the leading cause of death in the United States and accounted for 959,227 deaths in 1996. Strategies to reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke include lifestyle changes (e.g., eating fewer high-fat and high-cholesterol foods) and increasing physical activity. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force and the American Heart Association (AHA) recommend that, as part of a preventive health examination, all primary-care providers counsel their patients about a healthy diet and regular physical activity. AHA also recommends low-dose aspirin use as a secondary preventive measure among persons with existing CVD. To determine the prevalence of physician counseling about cardiovascular health and changes in individual behaviors, CDC analyzed data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for seven states and Puerto Rico. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which indicate a lower prevalence of counseling and behavior change among persons without than with a history of heart disease or stroke.  (+info)

(2/10474) Risk-adjusted capitation based on the Diagnostic Cost Group Model: an empirical evaluation with health survey information.

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the predictive accuracy of the Diagnostic Cost Group (DCG) model using health survey information. DATA SOURCES/STUDY SETTING: Longitudinal data collected for a sample of members of a Dutch sickness fund. In the Netherlands the sickness funds provide compulsory health insurance coverage for the 60 percent of the population in the lowest income brackets. STUDY DESIGN: A demographic model and DCG capitation models are estimated by means of ordinary least squares, with an individual's annual healthcare expenditures in 1994 as the dependent variable. For subgroups based on health survey information, costs predicted by the models are compared with actual costs. Using stepwise regression procedures a subset of relevant survey variables that could improve the predictive accuracy of the three-year DCG model was identified. Capitation models were extended with these variables. DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION METHODS: For the empirical analysis, panel data of sickness fund members were used that contained demographic information, annual healthcare expenditures, and diagnostic information from hospitalizations for each member. In 1993, a mailed health survey was conducted among a random sample of 15,000 persons in the panel data set, with a 70 percent response rate. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: The predictive accuracy of the demographic model improves when it is extended with diagnostic information from prior hospitalizations (DCGs). A subset of survey variables further improves the predictive accuracy of the DCG capitation models. The predictable profits and losses based on survey information for the DCG models are smaller than for the demographic model. Most persons with predictable losses based on health survey information were not hospitalized in the preceding year. CONCLUSIONS: The use of diagnostic information from prior hospitalizations is a promising option for improving the demographic capitation payment formula. This study suggests that diagnostic information from outpatient utilization is complementary to DCGs in predicting future costs.  (+info)

(3/10474) Correlates of sexually transmitted bacterial infections among U.S. women in 1995.

CONTEXT: Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) of bacterial origin such as gonorrhea and chlamydial infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility. Identifying behaviors and characteristics associated with infection may assist in preventing these often asymptomatic diseases and their sequelae. METHODS: Data from 9,882 sexually active women who participated in the 1995 National Survey of Family Growth describe the characteristics of women who report a history of infection with a bacterial STD or of treatment for PID. Multivariate analysis is used to determine which demographic characteristics and sexual and health-related behaviors affect the likelihood of infection or the occurrence of complications. RESULTS: Overall, 6% of sexually active women reported a history of a bacterial STD, and 8% reported a history of PID. Women who first had sexual intercourse before age 15 were nearly four times as likely to report a bacterial STD, and more than twice as likely to report PID, as were women who first had sex after age 18. Having more than five lifetime sexual partners also was associated with both having an STD and having PID. PID was more common among women reporting a history of a bacterial STD (23%) than among women who reported no such history (7%). In multivariate analyses, age, race, age at first intercourse and lifetime number of sexual partners had a significant effect on the risk of a bacterial STD. Education, age, a history of IUD use, douching and a history of a bacterial STD had a significant impact on the risk of PID, but early onset of intercourse did not, and lifetime number of partners had only a marginal effect. CONCLUSIONS: The pattern of characteristics and behaviors that place women at risk of infection with bacterial STDs is not uniform among groups of women. Further, the level of self-reported PID would suggest higher rates of gonorrhea and chlamydial infection than reported.  (+info)

(4/10474) Condom use and HIV risk behaviors among U.S. adults: data from a national survey.

CONTEXT: How much condom use among U.S. adults varies by type of partner or by risk behavior is unclear. Knowledge of such differentials would aid in evaluating the progress being made toward goals for levels of condom use as part of the Healthy People 2000 initiative. METHODS: Data were analyzed from the 1996 National Household Survey of Drug Abuse, an annual household-based probability sample of the noninstitutionalized population aged 12 and older that measures the use of illicit drugs, alcohol and tobacco. The personal behaviors module included 25 questions covering sexual activity in the past year, frequency of condom use in the past year, circumstances of the last sexual encounter and HIV testing. RESULTS: Sixty-two percent of adults reported using a condom at last intercourse outside of an ongoing relationship, while only 19% reported using condoms when the most recent intercourse occurred within a steady relationship. Within ongoing relationships, condom use was highest among respondents who were younger, black, of lower income and from large metropolitan areas. Forty percent of unmarried adults used a condom at last sex, compared with the health objective of 50% for the year 2000. Forty percent of injecting drug users used condoms at last intercourse, compared with the 60% condom use objective for high-risk individuals. Significantly, persons at increased risk for HIV because of their sexual behavior or drug use were not more likely to use condoms than were persons not at increased risk; only 22% used condoms during last intercourse within an ongoing relationship. CONCLUSIONS: Substantial progress has been made toward national goals for increasing condom use. The rates of condom use by individuals at high risk of HIV need to be increased, however, particularly condom use with a steady partner.  (+info)

(5/10474) Thyroid volumes and urinary iodine in Swiss school children, 17 years after improved prophylaxis of iodine deficiency.

Salt iodine content in Switzerland was raised from 7.5 to 15 mg per kg in 1980, and since then dietary iodine intake has been considered to be sufficient, even though a slight decrease due to imported food has recently been reported. The aim of this study was to establish normal values for thyroid volumes of school children who can be assumed to have had a sufficient iodine intake all their lifetime. Moreover. the present investigation was undertaken to verify that iodine sufficiency had been achieved equally in two regions each served by one of the two Swiss salt producers. Mean iodine concentration in urine spot samples from school children was 16.1 microg/dl, and it was identical in both the city of Lausanne (n=215) and the city of Solothurn (n=208). Thus it can be stated that in both cities (served by two different salt producers) iodine intake is equal and sufficient. Accordingly, thyroid volumes measured by ultrasound in school children aged 6 to 16 years were the same in both Lausanne (n=202) and Solothurn (n=207). Moreover, the age-adjusted median volumes at the 97th percentiles closely agree with and validate provisional international reference values recently proposed by the World Health Organisation and by the International Council for Control of Iodine Deficiency Disease.  (+info)

(6/10474) Stress and morale in general practice: a comparison of two health care systems.

BACKGROUND: Poor morale and high levels of stress among general practitioners (GPs) are causing concern. Little research has previously been carried out to study possible differences in morale and stress between GPs working in two different but geographically similar health care systems. AIM: To compare perceived levels of stress and morale between GPs working in two different health care systems--one having a state monopoly (Northern Ireland) and the other having mixed private and state funding (Republic of Ireland)--and to look for factors that might help explain any differences in stress levels and morale between the two systems. METHOD: Anonymous and confidential questionnaires were sent to all 986 National Health Service (NHS) GPs in Northern Ireland (NI) and a random sample of 900 GPs in the Republic of Ireland (ROI). A common set of core questions on demographic details, partners and work patterns, perceived levels of stress and morale, safety, violence, and complaints were asked. RESULTS: Response rates were high in both areas: 91% in NI and 78% in the ROI. GPs in NI had significantly higher stress levels and significantly lower levels of morale than GPs in the ROI. The NI sample expect matters to get worse over the following year. Doctors in the ROI were more likely to be single handed and to work from two sites. Also, more GPs in ROI had fears for their safety and had been the subject of physical violence, but fewer had received complaints and medico-legal actions than in NI. CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of both groups of doctors report feeling highly stressed but GPs in NI appear more unhappy and have a poorer outlook for the future. It is suggested that the structure, management, and expectations of the NHS have taken a severe toll on its GPs, whereas a system in which doctors have less practice support but more control is good for morale.  (+info)

(7/10474) Trends in body weight among American Indians: findings from a telephone survey, 1985 through 1996.

OBJECTIVES: This study compared trends in body mass index for American Indian men and women across selected regions of the United States. METHODS: Self-reported data were collected from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. RESULTS: Among women in the Dakotas, New Mexico and Arizona, and Washington and Oregon, average adjusted body mass index increased significantly by 0.1 to 0.2 units per year. Among men in Alaska and the Dakotas, average adjusted body mass index also increased significantly by 0.1 to 0.2 units each year. CONCLUSIONS: Because of rapid increases in average body mass index, some American Indian populations could be burdened by an increased incidence of chronic disease.  (+info)

(8/10474) Sexual problems: a study of the prevalence and need for health care in the general population.

BACKGROUND: There has been little research carried out on the prevalence and types of sexual dysfunction in the general population, although the indications are that such problems are relatively common. Most common sexual problems are potentially treatable. However GPs have estimated the prevalence of sexual problems to be far lower than survey estimates. OBJECTIVE: To provide an estimate of the prevalence of sexual problems in the general population, and assess the use of and need for professional help for such problems. METHODS: We used an anonymous postal questionnaire survey. The study was set in four general practices in England*, and the study population was a stratified random sample of the adult general population (n = 4000). The subjects were 789 men and 979 women who responded to the questionnaire. The main outcome measures were the presence and type of current sexual problems in men and women, and the provision and use of treatments for sexual problems. RESULTS: A response rate of 44% was obtained. The median age of the responders was 50 years. A third of men (34%) and two-fifths of women (41 %) reported having a current sexual problem. The most common problems were erectile dysfunction (n = 170) and premature ejaculation (n = 88) in men; in women the most widely reported problems were vaginal dryness (n = 186) and infrequent orgasm (n = 166). In men, the proportion of responders reporting sexual problems increased with age, but there was no similar trend in women. Of those responders who reported a sexual problem, 52% said that they would like to receive professional help for this problem, but only one in ten of these people (n = 50) had received such help. CONCLUSION: Among responders there was a high level of reported sexual problems. The most frequently reported problems (vaginal dryness, erectile problems) may be amenable to physical treatment in practice, and yet few had sought or received help. However, many said that they would like to receive help. These figures suggest that there may be an important burden of potentially reversible sexual problems in the general population.  (+info)